Fellow: Awarded 2019
Field of Study: Choreography
Competition: US & Canada
Christopher Rudd is a Jamaican born dance-maker whose creations blend contemporary ballet, modern dance, theatricality, and at times the aerial arts. He credits the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet’s Scholarship Program, New World School of the Arts High School, and Dance Theater of Harlem Summer Intensive for his performance career. His artistic approach has been informed by years of dancing for Carolina Ballet, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montréal, and Cirque Du Soleil. However, the content of his work is heavily influenced by his experience of navigating the world as a Jamaican-born, gay, Black, male, ballet dancer. That experience taught him that many of the world’s problems stem from people being desensitized to the humanity of others. It made him wonder what he could do to affect change.
Mr. Rudd founded RudduR Dance as a platform to better the world through dance. His works have been seen in New York, Florida, Connecticut, Texas, North Carolina, Utah, Canada, France, Trinidad & Tobago, and Burkina Faso, Africa. He is a recipient of grants from World Learning Arts Envoy, U.S. Embassy Burkina Faso, USArtists International through Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, New Music USA, American Dance Abroad, Career Transition For Dancers, Harlem Stage’s Fund for New Work, and he is the inaugural recipient of the New World School of the Arts Alumni Foundation’s Inspiration Grant. Mr. Rudd has been twice awarded The GO! Emerging Artists Commissioning Program by STREB Lab for Action Mechanics. He has also received choreographic residencies from the CUNY Dance Initiative, Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, Vendetta Mathea’s La Manufacture in Aurillac, France, and Norte Maar’s Dance at Socrates.
Mr. Rudd is currently developing Witness*, a three-part contemporary ballet at the intersection of art and activism. A challenge to the ethos of America's racial biases, Witness aims to communicate and educate, through movement, our shared humanity and the universality of the human experience. Witness journeys through time and form, experimenting with methods of storytelling in concert dance. Structured to be viewed like watching a film, Witness allows audiences to confront their own systematic, tactically taught racial biases.
RudduR Dance is currently preparing for RudduR Dance Empowers The Americas, a five-country tour across the Americas to combat divisive rhetoric by presenting thematically empowering dance, through community engagement, and through person-to-person cultural diplomacy. Included in the tour are Ecuador**, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Belize, and the United States. This tour is supported in part by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International.
*Witness is supported by New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Howard Gilman Foundation, Helen F. Whitaker Fund & Aaron Copland Fund for Music.
**This engagement is supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Howard Gilman Foundation.
Profile photograph by Kristina Zaidner